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Do Asha’ris Believe Allah Can Lie?

Imam Ibn al-Humam’s al-Musayarah & Imkan al-Kadhib

[Click on the above link for the pdf, see full Arabic text pp. 19-24]

This paper in Urdu-Arabic introduces for the first time, Imam Ahmad Raza Khan’s marginal notes to one of the commonly used passages from Imam Ibn al-Humam’s al-Musayarahon Islamic Doctrineto support the erroneous view that lying is possible for Allah Exalted is He according to the Ash’ari school. Imam Ahmad Raza’s commentary has been taken from a hand-copy from the original that was published in a collection of his marginal notes on various religious texts titled “Imam Ahmad Raza Ki Hashiya Nigaari” by Idarah Tahqeeqat Imam Ahmad Raza (Karachi, 1986). This paper translates the Arabic commentary into Urdu, elaborates the difficult theological points and develops the argument. The theological case is a follows:

  1. Imam Ibn al-Humam quotes Imam al-Nasafi, from al-Umdah, who asserts that Mu’tazilites believe Allah has power to be unjust and to lie but refrains from such acts.
  2. Ibn al-Humam objects to al-Nasafi claiming that such a view is more befitting to the Asha’ri school than the Mu’tazili school but he does not give any reason as to why this is the case.
  3. The commentator, Ibn Abi al-Shareef, a student of Ibn a-Humam, claims in al-Musamarah that Imam al-Nasafi seemingly contradicts himself because he also mentioned Mutazilites believe evil acts are not in the power of Allah Most High.
  4. Imam Ahmad Raza illustrates how Imam al-Nasafi is correct in his assertion and it is Imam Ibn al-Humam who in fact slips. He does this by showing how the “reason” behind Ibn al-Humam’s assumption (that this view more befitting to the Ash’ari madhhab) is one that he himself negates from the Asha’ris earlier in the Musayarah. Imam Ahmad Raza supports his argument using the commentary of Ibn al-Humam’s major student, Qasim ibn Qutlubugha, who also notes this slip by Ibn al-Humam and uses passages from the Musayarah and Musamarah that negate such a view from Asha’ris.
  5. The upshot of the commentary is that lying is not within the Divine Qudra according to the Ash’ari school and in fact the entire Sunni scholarship. Ibn al-Humam and Ibn al-Shareef have explicitly mentioned this in various other passages of their texts. However a particular sect of the Mutazilites does believe evil acts are in the Divine Qudra and thus Imam al-Nasafi’s assertion is true and it halts the objection of Imam Ibn al-Humam.

I have made every attempt to keep my commentary elaborative and simple. I offer my thanks to Allamah Ahmad Misbahi of al-Jamiah al-Asharfiyah (Mubarakpur, India) who revised this paper and made useful amendments to it.

Mohammad Monawwar Ateeq

Rajab 1432H


Filed under: Kalam, Textual Criticism

4 Responses

  1. Aftab Ahmed says:

    Thank you brother. May Allah reward you

  2. Ma sha Allah. May Allah reward you Mufti Sahib.

  3. Salam ‘Alaikum Sayyidi

    Your blog brings immense joy to the hearts of Sunnis worldwide.

    Jazakum Allahu khayraa.

  4. Adam Carem says:

    Excellent work Shaykh. May Allah bless you for your grand efforts. Amin.

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